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Blears extends community kitty scheme

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Hazel Blears has unveiled the latest group of local councils to launch community kitty schemes to hand spending power for some services to residents.

The 12 newest pilots - also known as participatory budgeting programmes - allocate hundreds of thousands of pounds to for local communities to decide how to use.

Communities Secretary Ms Blears also outlined the creation of a new body to be led by the Development Trusts Association to help communities take more control of local assets.

She said the move would include helping people take over disused public buildings if they could prove they could put them to better use.

"Residents are happier with their local area when they are given more say and more control over local decisions," she said.

"Getting involved in the public spending process will give people a better understanding of, and more confidence in the choices their local authorities make.”

The pilot projects build on initial schemes at Newcastle City Council, Bradford MDC and Sunderland City Council.

Among the latest projects are plans to give Norfolk CC residents control over£200,000 to spend on meeting Local Area Agreement targets.

Meanwhile, residents at Haringey LBC are to be given control of£50,000 for environmental and community projects.

Also introducing programmes are Walsall’s New Deal for Communities, Tower Hamlets LBC, Staffordshire CC, Cumbria CC, Preston Road Neighbourhood Development Company in Hull, Coast and County Housing Association in Redcar, York City Council, Leeds City Council, Wanbeck DC, and Hartlepool BC.

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